To Rishi Sunak: we need positive progress at a time of multiple crises
Following weeks of political turbulence for our countryside, green spaces and wildlife, we congratulate Rishi Sunak on becoming Prime Minister.
Welcoming Rishi Sunak as the new Prime Minister, Tom Fyans, Interim CEO at CPRE, said:
‘We congratulate Rishi Sunak on becoming Prime Minister and look forward to working with the government to ensure positive progress for our countryside and rural communities at a time of multiple crises. It is time to deliver the basic building blocks for thriving rural communities that have been neglected for too long.
‘The first thing on the to do list has to be tackling the cost-of-living crisis, and in particular the escalating energy emergency. Rural communities are acutely vulnerable to soaring energy bills. There has never been a better time to transform our energy infrastructure to ensure a future of abundant green power. And let’s be clear, fracking and fossil fuels are not the answer. The Conservative manifesto pledge to not lift England’s moratorium on fracking must be upheld.
‘Renewables are around nine times cheaper and far quicker to plug in than any alternative. Regardless of the profound environmental benefits, families facing the biggest drop in living standards on record need them to become the central pillars of a modernised energy system – and they need it to happen fast.
‘The new Prime Minister needs to beef up the planning system so that we get the new housing we need and uphold the manifesto commitment to maintain the Green Belt and other environmental protections. The last thing we need is to revert to failed policies like giving carte blanche to developers to build unneeded executive homes in pristine countryside while watering-down local community voices.
‘The growing housing crisis is seeing thousands of families pushed into temporary accommodation and onto stretched social housing waiting lists. It needs to be solved by funding brownfield regeneration, which could provide 1.3 million new homes on previously used land, and by building many more genuinely affordable homes in rural areas. Local plans – not top-down Whitehall policies, as the government currently proposes – should be the chief factor in deciding planning applications.
‘Finally, we urge the new Prime Minister to send a clear signal to support farmers to improve the health and biodiversity of their land through supporting public money for public goods. In light of the climate and nature crises, it would be extraordinary if the government chose to abandon Environmental Land Management schemes.’